Sunday, December 7, 2008

Charles Brand Press Mfg. Logo T-shirts

In response to recent collaboration with the good people at Suitcase Press (printing press repair and sales), I am offering the Charles Brand Logo T-shirt to a wider circle of Printmakers.
Charles Brand Presses (originally made in New York City) are among the best and most durable printing presses (etching and litho) ever designed.
They are unfortunately no longer manufactured.
But, chances are you have seen them in many studios, and even used them, as they are in numerous schools.
For all you proud Brand press owners and Brand press “power users”!!
Available in Adult sizes S, M, L, XL Short-sleeve cotton T-shirts:
In black ink on white or other lighter color shirts; or in white ink on a black T-shirt; cost as above, $20.00 plus shipping and handling.
Email me: for further info.

Geared Press-2-color

This press is really a Hunter Penrose Press, but
before I knew that for sure I made this image after Gabor Peterdi's geared Kelton press.
Future printings of this T-shirt image will likely have the Kelton logo removed, to avoid confusion.
However, a large part of this series imagery has involved the typography of the press names, which has been important to me. So, for now, this image is a bit of a collage approach!!
Shown are a variety of T-shirt colors which complement the image.

“The Furniture of the Univers”

This is a Chandler and Price clamshell letterpress in a diminutive tabletop size,
perched on a great retro solid black distressed-finish cabinet. Ready to go!
The title “The Furniture of the Univers” refers to a triple pun involving Furniture
(letterpress and otherwise!), Letterpress/typefaces, and a Philosophy term. It is based on
a joke that my undergrad letterpress teacher and I made in class, during the first
demonstration of locking up the type on a Vandercook Letterpress---obviously a
procedure that uses furniture; you are not going to get far in your printing without that!---and concerning our humble and basic typeface----seemingly millions of pounds of ‘Univers’, which is all the studio had. We definitely learned how to spec type with no
curlicues to distract us! Well, maybe you kind of had to be there......

Howard Etching Press (front of shirt)

This image comes in either a light salmon 2nd color background or a light turquoise background.
(can be printed on various shirt colors, depending---the salmon background looks better with green shades and blue-grey hues as well as rust colors; the turquoise also looks good on reddish shirts and either blues or greens)
On the back of the shirt in black ink is a bonus close-up detail of the press frame.
These presses were made in Philadelphia, back in the day!!

Fuchs and Lang Lithography Press

The legs of this press remind me of a grasshopper ready to spring from the ground...
A sturdy and unassuming little workhorse of a press, ready to handle any litho stone....

Kelton Etching Press 2 (Front of shirt) and a Tote Bag...

Another view of the Kelton Etching press.

I am also offering press image totebags.
Shown is the same image of the Kelton.
I will put the other press images on the
totebags too.

Back of the Kelton Etching press T-shirts

The backs of both of the Kelton 1 and 2 T-shirts (printed in black ink) are printed with this
window-pane of Kelton silhouettes, with the curved Kelton logo echoing the cast-in builders'
name at the bottom of the press side-frames; and also expressing the top-arched window frames of the industrial buildings from the time period in which this press was made and used.

Kelton Etching Press 1 (Front of shirt)

My connection to old printing machinery has a personal facet as well. The first etching press I owned was made by this company, M.M. Kelton, out of Brooklyn and New York City, and was very much like the one in this design. It is a cast-iron direct drive etching press. I bought it right after finishing my undergraduate degree ---the finding of it was a pre-wedding gift from my late husband, Jim. It just so happened that an acquaintance of his at that time had a big old farmhouse in the Philadelphia suburbs with a basement bursting with artifacts from the WPA. The man's father had been a WPA artist. Rather fitting, considering that this year is the 75th anniversary of the WPA!
Unfortunately I had to sell the press after having it for 10 years, because I moved and had no usable space in which to keep it. The press moved around a lot while I owned it and its current owner has moved it around quite a bit also. Although I still miss the press, I am happy that it has an appreciative home! (And I have since gotten a tabletop Charles Brand Etching press and I am very pleased with it.)

I have always been especially intrigued with the lovely lines of this press, and I know the memory of having owned one like this has been a prime motivation for doing this series.

Antique Printing Press Series 2008

I have recently re-connected with my love of old printing presses. With my being a printmaker, growing up around mechanically-minded people, and being involved in press maintenance
as part of my “day job”, this development would seem to be a natural outgrowth of my work that I nearly overlooked.
This most recent batch of T-shirts is a series of various old (late 1800’s-early 1900’s) printing press models, designed to print their respective print media, i.e., Etching, Lithography or Letterpress.
I am particularly fascinated by the graceful lines in the heavy cast iron
machinery, as opposed to their singular earthy utility---that their designers had the time and actually bothered to make them “pretty,” even though they were meant to do dirty industrial jobs, is remarkable. Maybe it really was about Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, on more than one level, after all! I fear that should these presses ever fail to be appreciated, either in or out of their useful realm, they would be destined for the scrap heap, going the way of other obsolete technologies.
So I have been on a quest to document these presses I find, particularly since the heyday of hand-printing and beautifully simple machinery recedes farther and farther into the rear-view mirror, while the digital age of speed at all costs rules over much of today’s world activities. Wearing the press image on a T-shirt, to me, symbolizes and solidifies the human body scale relationship and daily activity choreography inherent in the utilitarian aspects of both press and shirt.

The “Gem” Paper Cutter in the earlier post was the catalyst for my starting this group of designs.